Beneath the magnolia

I make no claims to be a tidy gardener.  I am apologetically untidy and one of the primary ways it manifests itself this time of year is that I do not remove every leaf that falls over the autumn.  This is partly because I can think of more interesting things to do in the garden but also most of the leaves seem to mulch and aid the borders without causing much of an issue. I get a lot of worm activity under the leaf-cover and this is a good thing.  As I write this I realise that very few of my trees overlook borders so this probably helps with my lack of leaf-clearing generally.  In the front garden, however, there is the rather wonderful magnolia tree.
Be in no doubt how much I love this tree.  It is the first thing my eyes fell upon when viewing this house back in 2007 and it remains an important part of the garden.  I think I have recounted previously that the then owner said it was a boring tree, that it flowered briefly and then just dropped leaves.  I sighed then as I sigh now, but she had a bit of a point about the leaves.
The leaves of this Magnolia are large and they do not rot quickly.  They blanket the ground underneath making anything underneath struggle for light.  I ignore this and ignore this and then the moment comes when I cannot keep walking past and I have to deal with it.
I start to clear away the leaves by hand as I know that precious things are growing underneath.  It is a joy to see them blinking in the pale winter sun.
I was very happy to see this cyclamen getting ready to flower in particular.  It had been biding its time under the leaf blanket.
The wheelbarrow soon filled up.
One of the joys of removing the leaves by hand is that I get up close and personal with the other plants in the border.  I admired the buds forming on the tree peony.  I wonder if it will survive the frosts to flower again this year?
The work progressed well.  I uncovered the stone cat that sleeps under the Magnolia Tree.  A delivery man once asked me if the cat under the tree was ok.  I still do not know if he knew it was a stone one and whether he was joking or not.
Looking in the other direction, the far corner is still a sea of ivy and leaves but I will not clear it completely.  I sometimes get hedgehogs furtling around in this area so I like to leave it undisturbed.
I am now looking forward to the bulbs developing,
and the hellebores flowering.  I am sure they are very grateful for having some light and space to breathe.


  1. Oooh I have a, Magnolia, Stella ata in my garden. We inherited it and it his totally one of my fav things even though it d I es have such a short shelf life. I akwayfs make the moist of it. Might be fun to try and press a couple of the flowers to use in a craft project. I have d it sciceted thihs year thst left leaves, and we had a lot, mulch down without too much trouble and h Ave almost covered my n sin veg bed with them, but to do still. I loved discovering things coming to life yesterday when I cleared some of our planters. I'm ashamed to say I have bulbs left that I have not got round to planting. Lovely post.


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